So much for back-to-school essentials.
A few odd vending machines that appeared on Long Island and purported to sell pens were actually dispensing crack pipes.
Suffolk County Police have a mystery on their hands after at least three so-called crack pipe vending machines were installed on public property and there’s now a concern that more vending machines are out there.
Two of the three machines – which are blue and feature the word ‘PENS’ written across the front – have been seized and turned over to Suffolk County Police for investigation.
The third is currently sitting on private property and therefore cannot be removed without the owner’s permission, though officials said they have reached out and hope to turn the machine over to law enforcement soon.
“You think you’ve heard of everything. I continue to be surprised by some of the audacity of those that would break the law in promoting drugs and drug paraphernalia,” Supervisor Ed Romaine said at a press conference.
Gallo is one of many concerned by the vending machines that have sprouted up across Suffolk County.
“Did they really think they were gonna get away with this?” Gallo said.
With a simple design, the blue vending machines were cemented into the ground in at least three locations in Suffolk County and claimed to contain “pens.”
According to officials, however, $2 got would-be customers a whole lot more. Disassembling the pen revealed a glass tube and filters, essentially a crack pipe kit.
A machine was discovered outside the Fairfield apartment complex in Medford. Another was found near a bus stop in front of Home Depot on Route 25 in Coram and a third was found near the Coram Commons Shopping Center on Middle Country Road.
“There are some people who think they’re going to make some money out of this and prey on a community and promote drug use in a community,” Brookenhaven Town supervisor Ed Romaine said at a news conference. “They’re going to be sadly mistaken.”
Suffolk County police are handling the mysterious case which was first brought to light on Facebook. Many residents complained online about the machines. Some went as far as destroying one of them with a sledgehammer.
Brookhaven, the most populated town in Suffolk County, has been trying to combat opioid addictions, Councilman Michael Loguercio said. But, he went on to say, crack is still prevalent in the community.
Authorities believe that because of similarities between the vending machines, the same person or people may be behind their installation.
It is not illegal to sell a pipe, Loguercio said, but these pipes are considered drug paraphernalia, and they were distributed from machines that were illegally installed. Romaine said the district attorney will be investigating but so far no suspects have been identified.
Watch the video report below for more details: